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Baffert leads new inductees to racing hall
Associated Press

This is an April 29, 2004, file photo showing Bob Baffert timing the morning workout of Kentucky Derby entrant Wimbledon at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Ky. Baffert heads into the Hall of Fame on Friday.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 8/14/2009 1:45 PM

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame on Friday along with trainer Janet Eliot, jockey Eddie Maple and three horses.

Baffert, winner of three Eclipse Awards as the nation's outstanding trainer, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem. He has trained the winners of eight Triple Crown races, seven Breeders' Cup races and developed 10 champions, including Silverbulletday, who was among Friday's inductees.

"I never had a plan," Baffert said at the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. "The horses have taken me places I never thought of being. I've had quite an interesting journey. I wanted to be a jockey. I never wanted to be a trainer. I wanted to go to Los Alamitos and win the All-American Futurity. My mother was totally against me riding. We had to keep it secret."

Elliot, known primarily as a trainer of steeplechase horses, is the first female trainer elected to the Hall of Fame and just the second woman overall. Jockey Julie Krone was inducted in 2000.

The Irish-born Elliot began her career as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who introduced her at the ceremony. She launched her own own stable in 1979, trained Census, winner of the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase in 1986, as well as champions Corregio and Flat Top. She ranks third in career earnings among steeplechase trainers.

Maple, who retired in 1998, rode 4,398 winners during a career that spanned three decades. He partnered a number of luminaries including Belmont Stakes winners Creme Fraiche and Temperence Hill, who also won the Travers Stakes, Devil's Bag and Forty Niner.

Silverbulletday won 15 of 23 career starts and was the champion filly at ages two and three, in 1998-99, winning six races as a juvenile, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and another five the following year.

The California-bred Tiznow won eight of 15 starts. He was the 3-year-old male champion and Horse of the Year in 2000 and the older male champion in 2001 while becoming the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Steeplechase champion Ben Nevis II, bred in Great Britain, was brought to the U.S. by the late Redmond Stewart Jr. He won the 1977 and 1978 runnings of the Maryland Hunt Club, a demanding event over 4 miles and 22 fences, and in 1980, he won the Grand National in England.